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Showtime, Disney Execs Top NCTA 2008 Vanguard Honoree List

Matthew Blank, chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks Inc. and Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and President of the Disney-ABC Television Group, are the 2008 recipients of the cable industry’s top honor, the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership.

Sweeney and Blank top the list of nine Vanguard Award winners who will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the cable industry. The 2008 awards will be presented May 20 during The Cable Show ‘08 in New Orleans.

Blank has made a significant and indelible mark on the cable television industry, NCTA said, transforming the network into one of the most successful cable channels in the industry, growing from three premium networks to include 27 digital channels. Showtime has been an early adopter of technologies, such as HDTV subscription VOD.

During Sweeney’s tenure, Disney-ABC Television Group’s properties have experienced tremendous growth: Disney Channel has more than quintupled its subscriber base with its mix of original series and movies and acquired programming.

Seven others will receive honors.

Bret Perkins, vice president of government affairs for Comcast Cable Corp., will receive the award for young leadership.

Kenneth W. Lowe, president and CEO of the E.W. Scripps Co., will be honored for programming.

Paul G. Allen, chairman of Charter Communications, will be honored for science and technology.

Steven Brookstein, executive vice president for operations at Bresnan Communications will be honored for cable operations and management.

Carol A. Melton, executive vice president for global public policy at Time Warner Inc., will be honored for government and community relations.

Sam Howe, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Time Warner Cable, will be honored for marketing.

Michael Pohl, president of global strategies for C-COR, will be honored for contributions by an equipment manufacturer.